The Automotive Aftermarket and Your Vehicle
Many Americans have never heard the term aftermarket; with
respect to the automotive or any other industry. Simply put, aftermarket
is the repair, replacement, or additional purchases for a product after
it is originally sold to a customer. The automotive aftermarket, according
to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) is "the
industry which maintains, repairs and accessorizes vehicles after they
are sold to their owners". In the United States alone, the motor
vehicle aftermarket is a $255.2 billion business. Not surprisingly, vehicle
service repair comprises two-thirds of the automotive aftermarket. Last
year, the cost of motor oil and other automotive chemicals rose by 6.8
percent. The AAIA also reports that the average hourly wage for those
employed in the aftermarket industry also rose as much as 5.1 percent.
What does this mean for the consumer? It means that consumers will pay
more money in the coming years to maintain and repair their vehicles.
This fact is disturbing because consumers can't "plan"
for vehicle repair costs. No one anticipates a leaking radiator, a failing
air conditioning system, or a grinding transmission. Consumers can, however,
anticipate the possibility of auto repair by purchasing extended service
vehicle service agreements on their vehicles so that the rising costs of these repairs
will not decimate savings accounts, absorb credit accounts, and destroy
An extended service vehicle service agreement is an insurance plan that will provide automobile
protection beyond the limits of a manufacturer's vehicle service agreement. Extended
service vehicle service agreements are important because they pay for the costly repairs
that are usually required when a vehicle is older and is no longer under
the original manufacturer's vehicle service agreement. They also offer a fixed cost
for all repairs to a vehicle - the deductible. As example, a transmission
replacement, common in Northern and Mountain areas or air conditioning
unit replacements common in all Southern climates cost only the deductible
amount, $100 or Zero; while the actual cost of these all too common repairs
range between $800 and $2,500 based on todays market. As aftermarket costs
continue to rise, an extended service vehicle service agreement has become one of the better
investments an automobile owner can make.